This project symbolises what can be done with vision, teamwork, hard work and the Spirit’s leading. The aim of the project was to aid regeneration in an Urban Priority Area.
The context was a large corporation housing estate on the edge of East Hull known as Bilton Grange. This is a story of a normal Methodist Church that could be anywhere in the country. A run down and no longer fit for purpose building that stood on an acre of land. The building was far too big for the elderly but faithful congregation and the local community had no sense of ownership. After some discussion it was agreed that the old church building should be demolished, creating something new, fresh, fit for purpose and exciting.
The project team was made up of members from the Council, The Methodist Church and other local community projects. Funding was secured through EuropeanRegeneration Funding (ERDF), The National Lottery, The Governments Sure Start programme and the Methodist Church.
On completion the new building became known as The Acorns, a generic term as the new building houses several partners; A Children’s Centre, A Nursery, a Community Café, Age Concern, The Maximum Life Youth Project, Job Centre Plus and a Methodist Worship Centre.
The worship centre also doubles as a conference centre, and a hall for larger activities. The hall includes state of art modern communication equipment.
In the café we created an environment where hospitality and welcome is central to all we offer, creating an opportunity to get to know people. Welcome is of paramount importance especially in an area where there is tremendous social isolation and lowliness. In the café people wait for courses, or drop their children of at the nursery. Older people take advantage of activities provided by Age Concern. Children, young people and their families take part in the activates organised by the Maximum Life Youth Project. People can also look for employment through the job centre. Therefore the potential for contact with people who would not normally come to church is extensive.
The Acorns project is based on the ‘community ministry’ model involving Christians and non-Christians working together.